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Randy Barnett’s Federalism Amendment

Last year I discussed Randy Barnett’s proposed constitutional amendment in Randy Barnett’s Proposed “Federalism Amendment” and Randy Barnett’s “Federalism Amendment”–A Counterproposal. The amendment would give a two thirds majority of the states the power to repeal any federal law or regulation.

As noted in recent blogposts (Does Amending the Constitution Dishonor the Founding Fathers? by Damon Root on Reason‘s Hit & Run blog and Reflections on the Repeal Amendment by Ilya Somin on Volokh Conspiracy), the idea has now been endorsed by a number of congressional Republicans, including soon-to-be House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. I doubt it will go anywhere, but it’s good to see it getting more attention.

As I noted in my posts from last year, Barnett’s proposal could be improved by explicitly recognizing the constitutional right of states to secede, and other changes. And a far better improvement would be an amendment explicitly recognizing the right of individual states to nullify any federal law from being enforced within the state’s jurisdiction (on this, of course, see Tom Woods’s Nullification).


Stephan Kinsella

Stephan Kinsella is an attorney in Houston, director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, and editor of Libertarian Papers.